A FAMILY pet suffered horrendous injuries and its owner was bitten during an attack by three Staffordshire Bull Terriers.

Dionne Ling, 44, of Castleton Road, Southend, was out on her usual morning run with whippet Rudi at around 6am on Saturday when she spotted a man with three Staffordshire Bull Terriers approaching.

She stopped to secure Rudi’s lead as she normally would when approaching another dog, however the terriers had already pounced and began biting at the dog, leaving it needing 20 stitches.

Suffering a puncture wound to her own hand, Ms Ling managed to grab the almost two-year-old dog from the fray and run towards the road, when she was spotted by a fellow runner, 37-year-old Paul Brooker from Ashingdon, who was driving past in his car.

He urged them to get into the car and drove them to the 24 hour Medivet Southend practice in Eastwoodbury Lane before the terriers could renew their attack.

Ms Ling said: “It was absolutely terrifying, it can only have been moments but it felt like hours - there was nothing I could do.

“I have run along here with Rudi since she was a puppy and never encountered any problems - everybody is generally so respectful of each other so this has been really shocking.

“I dread to think of what could have happened if I had had my five-year-old with me. If she had seen that she would have been absolutely distraught.

“Rudi has a long recovery ahead of her, but even once she is fully healed I’d have to think very hard about taking her back down there.

“It’s such a shame as I know that Southend is a very friendly place and I’ve never had a bad experience before.

“I am so grateful to the man who helped us - without him it could have been much, much worse.

A spokesman from Essex Police said: “The victim was in Clifton Terrace when a man walking what were described as two Staffordshire bull terrier types dogs and a Staffordshire bull terrier mix, walked towards her. These dogs were not on a lead and they attacked the woman and her dog.”

Call PC Dave Ince on 101 with any information.